Three striking features of the Dutch healthcare system - Incoming Visit Brazil

The Task Force Health Care organised a visit of 14 Brazilian (São Paulo) healthcare organisations in the second week of June 2016. During the course of the week, over 30 Dutch healthcare organisations interacted with and received the São Paulo delegates. The visit centred around science, research, and innovation in healthcare in the Netherlands.

Director General Curative Bas van den Dungen welcomed the delegation at the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport on Monday 13 June, when the visit kicked off with the 'Dutch Health System & Integrated approaches' seminar. The next day, Dutch organisations were given the opportunity to present their ‘smart solutions’ in healthcare to the Brazilians during the ‘Shared Challenges – Smart Solutions’ seminar. Additionally, TFHC Partner Lamboo Mobile Medical from Zoetermeer opened its doors for a demonstration of state-of-the-art-Mobile Imaging & Diagnostics Solutions. On Wednesday, the delegation enjoyed a private tour through the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital hosted by TFHC partner Dutch Health Architect. They subsequently visited Nutricia Test Labs in Utrecht and the Medical Innovation and Technology expert Center (MITeC) at Radboudumc. On the final day, the São Paulo delegates attended a healthcare seminar at University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) and received a tour through the hospital. The week ended with a visit to the Alzheimer Village in Hogewey; a care concept unique in the world.

Delegate member Claudio Terra, Director of Innovation and Knowledge Management, of the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo summarises their experience in the Netherlands. "The healthcare system in Holland is definitely at a superior level to the one you will find here in São Paulo, and far superior if you think of Brazil as a whole. However, the differences between the top scientific programmes and leading high-complexity hospitals are relevant, they are particularly striking when you look at the bottom of the pyramid. In the Netherlands, all citizens, regardless of income, social position or authority, have access to the same level of care from the beginning of life to the respectful end of life. A few challenges are shared, like how to curb the continuous growth of healthcare expenditures as a percentage of the GDP and how to prepare for the fast ageing of the population. However, the current situation of the Netherlands is already really impressive.’’

The delegation noticed three striking features of the Dutch healthcare system during their visit: participation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Claudio Terra on participation: “For many people, science, research and innovation should be reserved for the elite, for the connoisseurs or even for those with advanced degrees. What we saw in some presentations in Holland made us think twice about this assumption: often the voice, knowledge and experience of patients, citizens and technicians were also highly valued for the planning and practice of science, research and innovation.”

Regarding collaboration: "Almost every time someone made a presentation about science, research or innovation, it was stressed how much collaboration was needed, supported and encouraged. We were glad to hear about the many collaborations that already exist with leading Brazilian universities and hospitals. The setup in many universities also highlighted how the academic world is welcoming and supporting open innovation opportunities with researchers, entrepreneurs, small companies and venture capitalists as well as global pharma and the medical equipment industry. The government's role seems to be more supportive than leading and we think that is a good thing.’’

On entrepreneurship: "We had the opportunity to see some very interesting presentations from start-ups, some with global ambitions and sophisticated technologies. Leading universities and research centres support entrepreneurs with space, funding, talent and mentoring. Very sophisticated advances in genomics, neuroscience, cancer treatments, labs on a chip, artificial kidneys or machines to simulate the digestive systems as well as many other advances could also be highlighted.’’

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Read more in FD article or Treeway article.

Photography: Thieu Vaessen (FD)

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